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Christine O’Donnell: “I’m Not A Witch”

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Christine O’Donnell is not a witch.

That’s how Delaware’s Republican Senate candidate begins her first television commercial since winning a big upset in last month’s primary.

“I’m not a witch,” she says, looking straight into the camera. “I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you.”

It’s a pretty unusual way to open a commercial. O’Donnell speaks directly into the camera for the entire 30 seconds, wearing pearls, a blue blazer and sitting in front of a blue background.

Her opponent, Democrat Chris Coons, said he had not seen the ad, but did hear about it.

“That’s got to be one of the more memorable ways to introduce oneself,” he told Eyewitness News at an event on Tuesday morning.

A spokesman for O’Donnell said she was not available for an interview Tuesday and did not have any public events.

O’Donnell’s statement about not being a witch references a comment she made 11 years ago on Bill Maher’s show “Politically Incorrect.” On that program, she said she “dabbled” into witchcraft in high school. Maher released tape of that comment nearly three weeks ago and it became the subject of a number of national news stories.

But most of that controversy died away in recent days, so one marketing expert who spoke with Eyewitness News says it doesn’t make sense for O’Donnell to dredge it up again.

“I think it’s really foolish,” said Peter Madden, president of AgileCat, a marketing and branding agency in Center City Philadelphia. “I think Ms. O’Donnell should have let sleeping dogs lie or in this case, let sleeping witches lie.”

Madden says O’Donnell clearly is trying to target independent voters who might be concerned that her Tea Party connections make her an extreme conservative.

“None of us can be happy with what we see all around us,” she says. “Politicians who think spending, trading favors and back-room deals are the ways to stay in office. I’ll go to Washington and do what you’d do.”

“She really doesn’t state what she’s truly about, just what she’s not,” Madden says. He thinks she needs more substance.

“What does she stand for? And how can we communicate that in a way that actually makes her look credible because she doesn’t have a whole lot of experience in this game.”

Reported By: Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3

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